Preview of Liverpool v Sunderland 3pm

Liverpool will host Sunderland at Anfield for the first game of the new Premier League season and the Reds will hope to show off their new signings in front of the home crowd.

Captain Steven Gerrard will not take part however as he recovers from a groin infection and is set to be back next month.

Without their talismanic captain, Kenny Dalglish will be able to give a chance to new midfield signings Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam.

Adam, who signed from Blackpool for a fee of around of £7million, will provide the passes in the centre of midfield that players like Andy Carroll will be able to take advantage of.

Dalglish has not yet revealed whether their most recent signing left-back Jose Enrique will start against Sunderland but the Spaniard will relish the chance of playing against his former clubs bitter rivals.

The left-back position has been a problem for Liverpool with Fabio Aurelio suffering from injuries and 17 year-old Jack Robinson still too young to rely on for the whole season.

Liverpool have concentrated on signing players with Premier League experience, as Italian goal keeper Alexander Doni is the only player from outside the EPL signed by the Reds this summer.

Doni must be coming to Anfield with expectations of sitting on the bench as Pepe Reina is the undisputed number one at Liverpool.

Steve Bruce has been busy this summer as he reinforces his Sunderland squad but one signing who won’t take any part in the game at Anfield is Ireland international John O’Shea after he suffered a hamstring injury in a pre-season friendly against German side Arminia Bielefeld.

O’Shea joined Sunderland alongside Manchester United teammate Wes Brown as well as international teammate, goalkeeper Kieren Westwood, who signed from Championship team Coventry.

Westwood, who appeared for the Republic of Ireland against Croatia replacing Shay Given, will have a battle on his hands to be Sunderland’s first choice keeper, with Scotland’s Craig Gordon and Simon Mignolet in his way.

Westwood has impressed for both Ireland and Coventry and it looks as if Steve Bruce will rely on him to bolster the goalkeeper position as Craig Gordon’s constant battle with injury has hampered his first team appearances.

Prediction: Liverpool to begin the season with a win as Sunderland’s new look side take time to gel


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